Lay down beside me I signaled to my wolf
Three pats of the sofa in the early morn
Then two pats of the heart to say why.
He did it silently, no reply when one does
What’s to do. I must rest my hand on you
For a while for the usual reasons. This
Is easy to say between wolves or wolves and people
And difficult between people. For instance
A person might not want to absorb by touch another’s pain
Then. The wolf loves to. The person might say
Oh all right, but clearly a burden to ease another’s pain.
If you keep a wolf, there isn’t much more they do
But they are specially good at it
Like the surf loves to be splashed with a whole bottle of poison water,
Try that and see if the waves don’t turn over embracing without end,
Try that and see if you can find any poison after two seconds,
Or slowly slide your fingers through the first layer
Of your wolf’s coat to the second layer and move fingers
Head to tail, tail to head, slower than slowly.
Anything could have happened to you yesterday
And you’d soon be okay. But first get a wolf.
Expedition: New and Selected Poems
The Ashland Poetry Press
Arthur Vogelsang’s books include Cities and Towns (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996), winner of the Juniper Prize, and Twentieth Century Women (University of Georgia Press, 1988), which was selected by John Ashbery for the Contemporary Poetry Series.